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Antarctic conservation

3 Posts tagged with the scott's_hut tag
1

Home, Sweet Home!

Posted by Conservators Dec 22, 2013

Author: Nicola Dunn

Date: 23 December 2013

 

 

 

It’s hard to believe that in early November Sy, Lizzie and I made the trip from Scott Base to our new home which is just a short walk along the beach from Scott’s Terra Nova hut at Cape Evans (built for the 1910-13 British Antarctic Expedition). Travelling in a tracked vehicle known as a Hagglund we headed out across the sea ice following the route frequently taken by members of both Scott and Shackletons expeditions around the shoreline below Mount Erebus. Behind us we pulled sledges of supplies to sustain us for 3 months, and the historic artefacts that we are returning to the hut after conservation treatment.

Hagglud & Sledges at SB.jpg

The Hagglund and sledges on the sea ice outside Scott Base being prepared for the trip to Cape Evans

 

 

Our camp is basic but comfortable and we soon settled in and now feel quite at home. Whilst we each have our own tent for sleeping other areas are made up of converted freight containers towed over the ice and left on site from year-to-year. Two adjoining containers are used for cooking, eating and warming-up and the kitchen area has a diesel fired stove on which two pans are constantly melting snow for our water supply.  The views from the windows over the sea ice are spectacular.

 

Tents at Cape Evans.jpg

Our tents on the beach at Cape Evans with cloud formations around Mount Erebus in the background

 

 

We have all the basic staple foods for cooking and Sy has constructed an ice block freezer outside for our meat, cheese and vegetables that need to stay frozen when the temperatures edge above zero during the summer. The kitchen has a gas stove and oven, a breadmaker which I love using, and a yoghurt maker. We carefully sort and label our rubbish and the poo from the bucket in the little toilet block before sending it back to Scott Base and NZ for disposal.

 

We can communicate with the outside world by radio to Scott Base and by a satellite phone to the rest of the world.  The electricity for computers and charging batteries is provided by solar panels.

Camp at Cape Evans.jpg

The camp at Cape Evans with our tents in the foreground, the green accommodation containers, red and black conservation laboratory and Terra Nova hut in the far distance

 

 

Working in Scotts hut we find ourselves asking questions about the daily lives of the men that lived there, and these often echo questions asked by friends and family as they try to imagine our camp set up. If you have any questions about how we live – just ask.

0

Hidden gems

Posted by Conservators Jul 30, 2013

Author: Jaime

Date: 30 July 2013

Temperature: -31

Wind speed: 20 knots

Temp with wind chill: -49

Sunrise: N/A

Sunset: N/A

 

 

Having completed the restoration of the solid timber boxes from Bowers Annex, our attention is now focused on the fifty odd Venesta (VENeer from ESTtoniA) boxes, most of which were recovered from the same area.

 

These boxes formed part of a makeshift wall at the back of Scott’s hut at Cape Evans, but whereas the timber boxes were fairly sturdy, containing metal liners, densely packed with Colmans flour tins, the Venesta boxes are far more delicate objects, fabricated from 4mm plywood panels, riveted to each other through a light, steel, angled edging and filled with a huge variety of tinned and bottled food.

Unopened but full Venesta case LR.jpg

Unopened but full Venesta case

 

One hundred years of weather and corrosion have reduced the metal edging and canned contents to crumbling rust and the boxes to a mass of delaminated plies. It is only because they were excavated from densely packed snow and ice that both the panels and contents of some of the Venesta boxes have at least remained together.

 

Luckily though, the odd Venesta box fared better, opened but forgotten in a quiet corner of the hut and crucially, remaining relatively dry, and  undisturbed until this week. Within, nestled in straw, perfectly preserved bottles, wrapped in delicate tissue paper, as immaculate as the day they were packed. 

100 year old Venesta contents LR.jpg

100 year old Venesta contents

0

Leaving Cape Evans

Posted by Conservators Jan 8, 2013

Author: Karen

Date: 11 December 2012

Temperature: -1.5C

Wind speed: 5 knots

Sunrise: N/A

Sunset: N/A

 

 

 

The hagglund arrived at 10.15am to pick us up and take us back to Scott Base.  But first Martin and Kevin had to identify two safe routes down to the sea ice, in order for us to stage (put all the items in one place) our cargo.  This would make it much easier when loading the Hagglund.  One route was identified from the carpentry workshop/field laboratory area and another from Scott’s hut.  Kevin made a temporary wooden bridge across one of the tide cracks as it was just a little too big to step across safely.

bridged crack.jpg

The temporary bridge across one of the tide cracks © AHT/Karen

 

The ice had just started to break up around our camp and there were many tide cracks, which you could easily fall down and twist an ankle, so great care was required, especially when carrying artefacts.  We had our first lunch of soup and bread and proceeded to load the hagglund.  It took around 2½ hours.  We were taking artefacts from Scott’s hut back to Scott Base for our winter conservation team to conserve during the Antarctic winter season (Feb - Aug 2013).

Jana loading artefacts.jpg

Jana loading artefacts © AHT/Karen

 

It was a very sad time, my final visit to Scott's hut, it truely is an amazing place, Scott's hut is very powerful and I found it extremely difficult to walk down to the sea ice and climb into the Hagglund.  The journey back to Scott Base was slow and took approximately 3 hours; this was because we had to travel at 10km per hour, due to having artefacts on board.  On arrival at Scott Base, we unloaded the artefacts and headed for the showers.  After showering, we met in the dining room for dinner. It had been a long, exhausting but very rewarding day and we all slept extremely well that night.